The ultimate-fighting super assassin makes a bad-ass bad guy in “Alex Cross,” an otherwise comically terrible Tyler Perry movie newly out on DVD.
Jack From “Lost” (Matthew Fox) somehow slimmed his body down and bulked it up at the same time. He’s freakishly skinny, with bulging, tatted-up muscles. His eyes bug out and his head jerks like a bird’s, but his movements are otherwise hyper-efficient. He wears tight black clothes, a silver suit, or goes shirtless. His head is shaved. He paralyzes victims with an injection before he tortures and kills them, because he’s a “stimulus-seeking sociopathic narcissist.” He cage fights as “The Butcher,” and warns his opponent “Don’t hit me in the face, or you’ll never live to fight again.” He backs it up. The cops call him Picasso, because he leaves elaborate, meticulous charcoal drawings with the corpses he’s brutalized. He’s great with guns. His voice is a little too high, and he speaks in choppy sentences.
Fox’s performance as this character is freaky and dynamic, and “Alex Cross” is great during his scenes.
But it’s a borderline disaster when Tyler Perry’s on-screen. God damn does Tyler Perry suck. The “Alex Cross” DVD has trailers for “Good Deeds,” where he plays a successful businessman being made to feel guilty for his wealth, and “Madea’s Witness Protection,” where he cross dresses and yells his lines. Perry’s movies are shockingly terrible, yet they keep coming out. A couple years ago, “South Park” featured Tyler Perry, in drag, getting on characters’ nerves for saying things like “You know when a man be cheatin’ he never know what to say!” After each joke no one would laugh, but the show’s recurring black character Token would hand Perry some cash. Also, this:
Perry is not good as the title character in “Alex Cross.” Even when he says his lines well enough, the eyes stay stuck on “Whatever.” If you saw “Boogie Nights,” think about the way Dirk Diggler acts in those action pornos he made. That’s Perry, except Perry really exists.
Perry’s crap acting may, though, actually help “Alex Cross” in an inverse-dumb-lucky way. He’s so bad he’s good (entertaining), and Fox is so good he’s great. Not only is Fox a great actor chewing insatiably on a crazy role, but he contrasts against Tyler “Madea” Perry. It’s embarrassing how much better Fox is in this movie than Perry, which is sweet to watch if you’re into this kind of thing.
Alex Cross is out to a nice dinner with his pregnant wife when The Butcher (Picasso) kills her with a sniper rifle. Cross psychoanalyzed Butcher during a previous phone conversation, teasing about killing animals as a kid and growing up an outcast. After he shoots Cross’s wife, Butcher says she’d still be alive if Cross hadn’t handed down his load of “psychobabble.” She’s dead because he was both a bad cop and a pompous jerk.
Clouded by thoughts of vengeance for wife and unborn child, Cross becomes an even worse cop. They fight at the end – chubby, big-headed Tyler Perry beats up a ripped cyborg killing machine who we’ve already seen is an unbeatable cage fighter. Right. Butcher winds up falling from a great height. Matthew Fox is acting dead when we last see him, with blood around his head and a smile on his face. He wins.